Azeri men in mini skirt protest
Azeri men in miniskirt protest against sexual violence against women Source: Twitter

Men in Turkey and Azerbaijan are donning miniskirts in protest against sexual violence against women, according to a report from the BBC.

The men were driven to act after the rape and murder of Özgecan Aslan, a 20-year-old psychology student.who was abducted in Mersin, southern Turkey, by a bus driver on February 11

Aslan was abducted in Mersin, southern Turkey, by a bus driver on 11 February<sup>th. She was then killed, apparently for resisting the driver's attempts to rape her.

It is believed that Aslan tried to ward off her attacker with a pepper spray, but she was stabbed and then struck on the head with a metal bar. Her burnt corpse was discovered in a river bed some days afterwards.

Aslan's murder has led to a massive outpouring of anger, much of it online. Over 6 million people have tweeted her name and thousands have shared their own stories of sexual abuse on social media. Most of them are believed to be women. However, it was in Turkey's neighbour

However, it was in Turkey's neighbour Azerbaijan – where most people speak Turkish – that male reactions first appeared to surface on social media in large volumes.

Posts of Azerbaijani men in mini skirts are prominent in posts on Twitter and Facebook, many containing the hashtag #ozgecanicinminietekgiy ("Wear a miniskirt for Özgecan").

So far more than 1,500 people have used the hashtag, with roughly equal numbers of men and women.

On Facebook their campaign manifesto reads: "If a miniskirt is responsible for everything, if [wearing] a miniskirt means immorality and unchastity, if a woman who wears a miniskirt is sending an invitation about what will happen to her, then we are also sending an invitation!"

Critics of the campaign are also vocal online. One of them is Azerbaijani tweeter Javidan Aghayev.

"Instead of supporting women in a real, practical way, wearing a skirt or a wig is not going to have any positive effect," he said in an interview with the BBC. "In conservative civilizations like Turkey and Azerbaijan, this campaign is not going to help. Maybe in Europe, but not here."